Today I wanted to share some preliminary steps to take when your organization begins thinking about a web site redesign. Whether designing in-house or with a third-party company, completing these tasks ahead of time will save you a great deal of time and pain down the road…
1. Justify the need to redesign – Have some conversations internally about what’s working and what’s not working with your current site and document those conversations. Decide what outcomes you’re expecting with the redesign so you can share those goals with your designer.
2. Define your core project team – You’ll need to determine who, in your organization, will be responsible for making decisions about the new site. Include anyone who will need to sign off on the new design or any of the deliverables leading up to it (information architecture, wireframes, etc.). Also, major content contributors or owners will want to have a say in what stays and what goes. Finally, any key strategists in your organization that know what types of people visit your web site and who else you want to reach out to. Make decisions about the team judiciously since the larger the team, the more challenging it will be to get sign-off on key milestones.
3. Create a comprehensive sitemap – Make a list of the content you already have on your web site. From there, you can make decisions about what is important, what needs updating, and what is outdated or doesn’t need a home on your new site. I talked about this process in a little more detail in a previous post called “The Content Monster”. http://www.connectioncafe.com/posts/2009/july/the-content-monster.html
4. Consider branding – If you haven’t already, determine and document your company logo and color scheme so your designer will have some guidelines. Collect any photography that could be incorporated and also any print materials that may serve as a guide to your brand.
These steps are just the beginning to embarking on a successful redesign. Many additional considerations and decision will arise as you enter the process, but at least you can get a head start!